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Top 23 Small Guard Dog Breeds (For Tiny Apartments)

Do you know that small-sized dogs can be used as guard dogs? Perhaps you have once doubted the possibility, but let’s find out in this article.

Human beings have used dogs for protection for many years. This relationship between man and canine has grown so well over the years, mainly because of the role dogs have played in human life.

When you mention a guard dog, most people will assume that it is a huge animal, almost the size of a human being, with extreme strength. Granted that most dogs have those qualities, it is not an absolute must for dogs to have that appearance.

Small dog breeds can also act as guard dogs. Dogs don’t need to be intimidating and huge to protect the people they perceive as family. A small guard dog might have the personality that will make it an intimidating and fearsome canine for your family.

So, which are the best small guard dog breeds? This article helps you identify all the canines that have the characteristics that classify them as guard dogs. If you live in an apartment, then you should consider the following top breeds. Stay tuned!

What are Small Guard Dog Breeds

Guard dogs and watchdogs are often confused with each other. What’s the difference? Watchdogs are the dogs that are capable of alerting their owners of any potential intruders inside their homes. In most cases, they will simply bark when potential threats are cited.

With that in mind, you should know that most guard dogs are large with the capability of handling their threats physically. Nevertheless, it does not mean that small dogs cannot be guard dogs. The truth is that several small guard dog breeds have the potential to be perfect for you and your house’s security.

When you have these dogs in your house, you can be sleep safely knowing that you are in good and secure hands.

A small guard dog can be vicious and adorable at the same time. The smallest guard dog is Boston Terrier; which other small dog breeds make perfect guard dogs? Here is a list of our top picks.

  • Boston Terrier
  • Dachshund
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Havanese
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shiba Inu
  • Basenji
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Affenpinscher
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Rat Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • American Eskimo Dog
  • Schipperke
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Silky Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Skye Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel

Top 23 Small Dog Breeds that Stay Small To Protect Your Tiny Apartments

So, you want a small dog that will protect your home fiercely? Choose from the amazing canines below.

Small Guard Dog BreedSizeAppearanceCost
Brussels Griffon8 InchesBrown$1500 – $2000
Dachshund9 InchesBlack, Brown$1300 – $4000
Tibetan Spaniel10 InchesBrown with white spots$800 – $1000
Skye Terrier10 InchesBlack, white, brown$1500 – $2000
Silky Terrier10 InchesBrown, Grey, Black$1000 – $2000
Scottish Terrier10 InchesBlack$1000 – $1500
Cairn Terrier10 InchesWhite, dark hair$800 – $1200
Havanese11 InchesBlack with white spots$800 – $1200
Lhasa Apso11 InchesWhite long hair$900 – $1300
Australian Terrier11 InchesBrown$1000 – $1500
Dandie Dinmont Terrier11 InchesWhite with Black Parts$1400 – $1600
Affenpinscher11.5 InchesBlack$1800 – $2500
Miniature Pinscher12.5 InchesBrown$900 – $1300
Coton de Tulear12.5 InchesWhite$1300 – $2000
Miniature Schnauzer14 InchesBlack with white spots$1000 – $1500
Schipperke15 InchesBlack$800 – $1000
Bedlington Terrier16 InchesDark Grey$1800 – $2300
Manchester Terrier16 InchesBlack with white spots$600 – $1000
Rat Terrier16 InchesWhite, Black, Brown$300 – $600
Shiba Inu16.5 InchesBrown, white$1500 – $2500
Boston Terrier17 InchesBlack with white spots$1500 – $4500
Basenji17 InchesBrown with white spots$1500 – $2000
American Eskimo Dog19 InchesWhite$600 – $1000
small guard dog breed size, appearance, and price comparison table

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier breed of small dog
Boston Terrier breed of small guard dog

Usually, a Boston Terrier is calm, happy, and friendly.

This is quite a small dog, making it a perfect fit if you live in an apartment. Its breed dated back several years ago. It was bred in Boston in the 1800s. Three specific weight classes fall under this breed, ranging from 15 to 25 pounds. The dog will grow to around 17 inches of height maximum.

Even though it makes for a perfect guard dog, it is a very lively, affectionate, and smart canine. It also features an even, gentle temperament, which makes it gentle with kids. At the same time, you should expect it to be stubborn, especially when training it.

This friend does not require much exercise. This is an indoor dog, which makes it perfect for apartments. Be careful not to shut them down with your tone of voice.


This dog is courageous, lively, and very clever.

The canine’s breed started in Germany. The breed’s history dates back to the 16th century. A full-sized adult Dachshund is around 11 pounds and does not grow tall at all, only a maximum of 9 inches.

A Dachshund is mainly bred to persevere, which can also translate to being stubborn. However, the main reason why people appreciate this canine as a pet is that he is fearless and entertaining. This dog mainly wants to cuddle with people. It is an affectionate pup.

You should know about this dog because it has quite a lot of energy and stamina. Playing with other dogs and taking walks is among their favorite things to do. You should be prepared for that.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer breed of small guard dog
Miniature Schnauzer breed of small guard dog

You will never feel lonely if you have a Miniature Schnauzer in your house.

This pup came to be around the 19th century. It was bred in Germany as a crossbreed of the Standard Schnauzer and other smaller breeds. The schnauzer will row to a maximum height of 14 inches when fully grown.

The dog is full of life. It is always exciting to be around him, and kids would love to play with him. The dog always wants to keep you company, always touching you for no reason at all.

A schnauzer enjoys playing inside the house. Whether you have a yard or not, the dog will always be playing. You should allow him some playtime or simply 45 minutes of some exercise daily.


A Havanese is always affectionate and gentle.

Havanese dogs became extremely popular in the early 1800s in Cuba. They are pretty small dogs because the adults grow to a height of 11 inches max with around 13 pounds.

This breed is most loved because of its affectionate and gentle nature. You should expect to have curious, playful, and excited puppies in your house when you purchase a Havanese. The dogs are not scared and can approach even new people on their own.

Havanese has quite some energy. He remains happy, especially after a game of fetch or a bit of a walk.

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers are quite confident and are spirited animals.

According to most documentation, this breed is one of the oldest in history. However, it is traced to a couple of years back where it was bred in Germany. This small dog breed grows to a maximum weight of 11 pounds and a height of 12.5 inches.

It is referred to as the toy king for some reasons. First, he is intensely curious, fearless, and will always be ready to handle some action. His level of energy is outstanding. But that’s not all. This dog has a sense of investigation and is always trying to find things out. It loves socialization, which makes it perfect for family fun.

You should always keep an eye on this mischievous dog. The best is always to keep any sharp or small objects away from him.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso breed of small guard dog
Lhasa Apso breed of small guard dog

This is an affectionate dog that loves spending time with kids.

The dog is originally from Tibet. This dog has always been in the hands of noble people for thousands of years. An adult Lhasa, whether male or female, grows to around 11 inches with a weight of 15 pounds.

It is a special dog with an amazing personality. You should always expect that the dog will be mischievous and extremely happy. Also, Lhasa Apso is quite playful, just enough to make him the perfect dog for a kid.

If you do not have much space, consider getting a Lhasa. This dog enjoys playing outdoors, although it is not mandatory.

Shiba Inu

Beautiful dog breed that is extremely intelligent.

Shiba Inu is a dog breed from Japan. It was mainly used in Japan to flush out birds and other smaller animals for hunters. It got in the United Stated around 1954. The first litter was in 1979. A male can grow to 16.5 inches, while a female will grow to 15.5 inches.

This dog is not only alert but also bold and good-natured. His confidence and strong will are extreme. It is not uncommon to find that a Shiba Inu has certain personal ideas. Sharing is not an ideal that the Shiba Inu embraces. It can tend to protect personal things, sometimes with aggression, which makes it a perfect watchdog.

This breed likes to play and jog while taking walks. You should allow him to play around and socialize with other dogs.


This breed is brilliant and quite easy to train.

The basenji is quite old. They were discovered in Congo around the 19th century and have grown to be one of the hunter’s best friends. It does not grow much, although it is not among the most miniature dog breeds. An adult will grow to around 17 inches.

This hound is highly independent and intelligent. Basenji always alert, one of the reasons why he makes a great guard dog. But more than that, he is patient and affectionate. You should not trust him around cats or other pets. You can also expect him to be aloof when strangers are present.

Considering that this is a hunting hound, daily exercise is important to keep him in shape. Daily walks and other enthusiastic activities are great.

Cairn Terrier

The Cairn terrier is quite friendly, cheerful, and happy.

This dog breed has more than 200 years of existence. It was developed in the Isle of Skye by Captain Martin MacLeod. It is a small fluffy breed that will grow to around 10 inches tall with approximately 14 pounds.

This dog is quite friendly and always loves to meet people. Even though cheerful and happy words describe his behavior perfectly, you should know that he is always alert, tough, and independent.

You will love him as a guard dog mainly because he alerts you of any person who approaches. The dog is quite fond of kids as well.

You can purchase this dog if you live in an apartment. Nevertheless, you should provide a walk or play of around 30 minutes.

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon breed of small guard dog
Brussels Griffon breed of small guard dog

Brussels Griffon is a small breed with a shy and reserved nature.

The breed’s roots can be traced to Belgium. It was mainly used to hunt, as well as kill vermin in horse stables. It started gaining popularity in the 1800s. A typical Griffon will grow to around 8 inches tall with a weight of 12 pounds.

If allowed, this breed will be highly bossy. Nevertheless, he has a soft nature and loves the attention given by people close to him. He has a small stature that makes it possible for him to play with kids without any accidents.

You can live with a Griffon in an apartment without a problem. Regular exercise is important for the dog to maintain his shape.


Curious and affectionate dog.

Affenpinscher is an old breed, going back to around the 17th century. It was mainly from Germany, even though you can find it in Dutch paintings from earlier than the 17th century.

It is a small pup that will grow to around 11.5 inches. A full-grown adult will weigh around 9 pounds.

This dog is always alert and on the lookout.

You will enjoy his loyalty and his capability to protect you from any harm, which makes it a perfect guard dog. 

It takes some time for the dog to calm down when he gets excited. You should keep an eye on him when in the presence of kids.

If you have neighbors who do not mind some barking, then this dog might be the perfect one for you. You should provide short walks for some time for better shape.

Scottish Terrier

Although this terrier is a bit stubborn, it is also intelligent and independent.

There is no sure documentation for this dog’s history, although it is extremely old. It is from Scotland, as you can note from the name. An adult terrier will grow to a height of 10 inches and a weight of around 21 pounds.

This dog is quite serious, to be honest. Scottish Terrier is independent, smart, and reserved to himself. 

Although he might be aloof at times, his behavior towards family is quite different. He does not accept people easily, although he is great with kids.

When bored, this dog can be destructive. Scottish Terrier does not love running either, although walks are a great way to keep him in shape.

Coton de Tulear

Coton De Tulear breed of small dog
Coton De Tulear breed of small guard dog

This dog is beautiful, cuddle, and extremely sweet.

This beauty is from Madagascar. The breed has a couple of hundred years in its history. This small breed has adults that will grow to a maximum height of 12.5 inches.

The Coton loves people and wants to spend time with a human family as much as possible. You will easily form a strong bond with him, which is one of the main reasons he is great with kids. He is also intelligent and will seek attention any way he can.

Cotons love playing around regardless of the weather, even in the rain. He can live in any environment, even apartments, because training is easy.

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier breed of small guard dog
Rat Terrier breed of small guard dog

Small, energetic, and adorable.

Rat Terrier is an American breed that goes back to the 1920s. The sturdy little dog will grow to a maximum height of 16 inches.

The terrier is quite stubborn. However, he is also wary and intelligent, characteristics every guard dog should have. He is a great family pet and will play well with your kids.

Since it is a mischievous dog, he tends to wander around, and he can even chew things that might cause harm to him. Although you should crate train him, you should be careful not to leave him in there for too long.

Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier breed of small guard dog
An Australian Terrier playing in the field

Australian terriers are upbeat and love playing around with humans.

The dog is from Australia, as per the name, and has been around since 1868. The males and females in this breed are quite similar in stature. They grow to around 11 inches.

The breed is a great companion mainly because of its energetic behavior. Playing in the house with kids is one of the fun things he loves to do.

He thrives best when living in a house. If he goes out, for any chance, you should make sure to supervise closely.

American Eskimo Dog

American Eskimo Dog breed of small guard dog
American Eskimo Dog breed of small guard dog

Eskimos are striking because of their beauty.

Although the exact origin of the dog is unknown, similar spitz dogs originated from Germany. It was given the name around 1917.

An American Eskimo can grow to a maximum of 19 inches.

The personality is as appealing as the appearance. He is clever, spunky and he loves playing with kids.

This is a very special dog breed, American Eskimo loves cold environments. You should surround him with family for a great personality.


Schipperke breed of small guard dog
Schipperke breed of small guard dog

This breed is clever, curious, and extremely devoted.

The dog is from Belgium and has been in existence for a very long time. It is not so big but it grows to a maximum height of 15 inches.

He loves pleasing his family. At the same time, he appreciates if things are done his way. Nevertheless, he is suspicious of any stranger and is extremely protective.

Caring for this breed is easy. All you would need to do is let him stay indoors, and he will be fine.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Beautiful and intelligent.

The breed goes back to the early 1700s and is from the Scotland regions. It only grows to a height of 11 inches.

It is bold, independent, intelligent, and tenacious. He is also affectionate with people he knows, especially kids. They will only bark when need be.

They enjoy city life or country life. Whichever he gets, he adopts to.

Manchester Terrier

Manchester Terrier breed of small guard dog
A Manchester Terrier being at alert outdoors

This is a spirited, lively dog.

The dogs are originally from England and have been in existence since the early 16th century. They only grow to a height of 16 inches.

He loves to be with family and is social. However, you should be careful when kids are around him.

Daily exercise is a great idea for good health and stimulation. Exercise should be around 30 minutes daily for best results.

Silky Terrier

Beautiful is an understatement when it comes to this dog.

The terrier is originally from Australia, and the breed has been around since the 1890s. It grows to a height of about 10 inches max.

It is intelligent and self-assured. But more than that, he is friendly and spirited. He is happiest when around humans. Nevertheless, supervision is necessary when it comes to this dog.

He needs exercise, just like any other dog. You should walk him daily or play around with him for the best results.

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier small guard dog
Bedlington Terrier small guard dog ready for a walk

The terrier is intelligent and alert.

The dog comes from the northern parts of England and has lived since 1825. He grows to a maximum height of 16 inches and females 15 inches.

This terrier is a perfect companion and guard dog with his alert and intelligent. He plays well with kids, although other dogs will feel his aggression.

He is not highly active. However, he can run extremely fast, which means you should fence your environment well.

Skye Terrier

One of the most loyal and dedicated dog breeds.

This old breed has been around for centuries and they are native to the Isle of Skye.

Skye Terrier will grow to a maximum of 10 inches.

He is a brave, loyal, and good-natured dog. At the same time, he will not jump into your arms the first time you see him. He can be cautious and unhappy if neglected.

Since it is small, you can provide him with moderate exercise, and it would be enough.

Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel breed of small guard dog
Tibetan Spaniel breed of small guard dog

This spaniel is extremely alert and active.

This is a breed from Asia and is quite ancient. It is a good dog that grows to a height of 10 inches.

The breed is quite affectionate and trusting towards family. Strangers might not receive as much attention, but they will not be aggressive. It is a great dog for kids.

The best thing to do for this breed is to provide attention. Make sure that the dog is around people.

Are all Small Guard Dog Breeds Friendly with Kids?

Unfortunately, not all dogs will go well with kids. Some will always love to play around with kids. However, some will require some supervision when playing with kids.

How do you Train a Guard Dog no Matter the Size?

Guard dogs are trained using body language and tone of voice. They will always sort of understanding when you are accepting a certain behavior or refusing it.

Wrapping Up

There is a wide range of dog breeds. You must care for your canine the best way you can so that it can guard your home at its best. Regular exercise and proper meals will ensure that you have the best security.

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